Finding the right bra is no joke. Misery-filled hours in John Lewis, Debenhams and M&S getting felt up by ladies with a tape measure, and then sweating a tantrum in the changing rooms is not time well spent. However, new research is showing that we may have to lump it because getting the right bra is important for our health.
It's thought 70-80% of ladies wear the wrong size bra, and some don't wear a sports bra when exercising. Experts say this will lead to premature sagging (yikes) and discomfort.
The band: back fat is the sign of a bad bra. If you have back fat then your bra is too tight. If it rides up towards your shoulders it's too loose. The band should be a level circle around your body. The band supports your breast weight, not the cups.
The cups: there should not be hangover boob or gape. If the centre point is not touching your chest you need a bigger cup size. Remember if you go up a cup size, you go down a back size e.g. a 34c to 32d.Confusing? Not half. That's why the measuring tape ladies are worth their weight in gold.
Go bra shopping on a Monday afternoon so you don't have to queue and have galaxy-destroying rage.
Ask for help - the fitting ladies have years of experience with their tape measures, but if you don't fancy that you can measure under your breasts and around your rib cage, keeping the tape level. Round up or down to the nearest inch. This is the band measurement. Now measure the largest part of your breasts. This is the cup measurement.
Take the band measurement and minus the cup measurement. The result is your cup size.
No. Sports bras are re-enforced like solid concrete so they stop any bounce. Bouncing breasts, whilst great on Baywatch (remember that!), cause tissue damage. Pamela must have been icing hers for days after the intro was filmed.
Going bra-less may lead to a monumental increase in male collision injuries, but does going without damage ladies' health?
There's a notion that bras cause breast cancer by blocking lymph fluid, but this isn't the case. It's more likely that these cancers are a result of being overweight, and overweight ladies are more likely to wear a bra, hence this mistaken theory.
Some young women have svelte figures that don't need the support, but for others, some sturdy support is needed. Those ligaments are going nowhere but down on both body shapes. Breasts may ache depending on the time of the month, heavy breasts affect your posture, and smaller breasts will eventually sag too.
A bra is important - just make sure you've got the right size to protect your health.